Archive for the ‘search and siezure’ Category

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Here is second life for news that matters:

Appeals Court Holds that Email Privacy Protected by Fourth Amendment 

FBI defends raids on Texas data centers

DHS Seized Domains Based On Bad Evidence

WMATA bag searches make transit less safe, not more
+ “Dragnet Searches on DC Transit Prompt Local Advocates to Mobilize

Auditors question TSA’s use of and spending on technology

Net Neutrality passes with FCC regs

Article 13 and PFC Bradley Manning

“PFC Bradley Manning, unlike his civilian counterpart, is afforded no civil remedy for illegal restraint under either the Federal Civil Rights Act or the Federal Tort Claims Act.”


Downsize D.C. Now that Real ID’s hubs have been defunded, let’s REPEAL REAL ID!!

EFF’s Constructive Direct Action Against Censorship

Bank of America’s whistleblowers need you to volley for more protections

c/o [CLG]

European Union governments have given in to the pressure and appear set to make a last-minute agreement with the United States to allow its intelligence agencies to monitor bank accounts and transactions across the bloc.

Actually, the EU has been clandestinely allowing US intelligence agencies to have access to these financial records since 2001, allegedly to fight terrorism.

However, EU citizens were outraged when this invasion of privacy was revealed in 2006.

Now, however, interior ministers and security officials of the 27-member bloc are going to meet on November 30 to make a decision on legally allowing the United States to have access to bank data across the EU.

According to Spiegel Online, the EU interior ministers gradually succumbed to the “massive” pressure exerted by US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton and US ambassadors in Europe, who pressed governments like door-to-door salespeople.

“They pulled out all the moral and political stops,” one EU foreign minister quipped.

Germany was initially opposed to the agreement but came around this week, and a recalcitrant Austria, one of the last holdouts, followed suit.

German Interior Minister Thomas de Maizière, who is from the new coalition government, told German Justice Minister Sabine Leutheusser-Schnarrenberg, who belongs to the liberal Free Democratic Party (FDP), that he would not block the US proposal in Brussels.

There will not be a German “no” vote, but instead, he will simply abstain, Spiegel Online reported.

In what many Europeans say is a surreptitious move, the final decision on the issue is going to be made one day before the Lisbon Treaty comes into effect on December 1, since the treaty would allow the European Parliament to have a say in the matter. :::MORE HERE:::

c/o North Platte Bulletin

LINCOLN, NH – A 100-group coalition — in letters to the U.S. Department of Agriculture and to Congress — urges that the National Animal Identification System be dissolved completely and that all 100 organizations look forward to working with USDA to enhance our nation’s animal disease preparedness in a manner that builds upon our past successes and respects the interests of U.S. livestock producers and consumers.

In the 2010 Agriculture Appropriations Bill, Congress reduced NAIS funding to $5.3 million, but did not specify how those funds were to be allocated.

The letter to Congress, sent Nov. 18, asks to support the limited use of NAIS funding to shut down the program, and to refocus the agency on measures that truly improve animal health.

The 100 groups recommend that USDA:

— Formally withdraw all pending rulemaking initiated by the agency to advance NAIS and pay the associated costs;

— Pay all existing contractual obligations and NAIS-related costs that USDA incurred prior to Sept. 30, 2009;

— Pay all costs associated with transferring the computer hardware acquired by USDA as part of NAIS to state animal health agencies, to enable state agencies to improve their ability to communicate among agencies in the event of a disease outbreak; and,

— Pay all costs associated with providing the people of the United States and Congress with an official, comprehensive report on all of the testimony USDA received at each of the NAIS listening sessions held throughout the country in 2009. ::: MORE HERE::

See Also TechDirt’s article:

DHS Reveals Some Data On Border Laptop Searches

The Department of Homeland Security has released to Congress a report detailing its privacy activities from 2008 through 2009, offering a glimpse into the department’s work on a variety of privacy fronts, including the searches of laptops and other electronics devices and the government’s gradual embrace of social media.

The 99-page report (PDF available here) reads as a laundry list of DHS privacy initiatives during the past year and a half, containing a helpful appendix of three pages of acronyms.

In the area of border security, the department defended its use of RFID technology in developing enhanced drivers licenses to facilitate border crossings under the Western Hemisphere Travel Initiative.

The U.S. Customs and Border Protection unit has come under fire from civil liberties groups for searching the contents travelers’ electronic devices, particularly laptops.

The new report downplays the frequency of this practice. From Oct. 1, 2008 through May 5, 2009, for instance, DHS reported that of the 144.4 million travelers CBP authorities encountered at U.S. ports of entry, just 2.2 percent (or 3.1 million) were subject to a secondary search. Of those, just 1,947 were forced to submit their electronic devices to search.

In some instances, those searches entailed nothing more than turning the device on to ensure that a cell phone is in fact a cell phone, a laptop a laptop, etc. (A handful of federal buildings in Washington, such as the Federal Communications Commission, maintain the same practice. The White House and the Capitol complex buildings do not.)

DHS reported that 696 travelers’ laptops were subject to inspection from October through May, and of those, only 40 were put through an in-depth search that would inspect the content on the devices.

On the social media front, the DHS Privacy Office said that it had taken up President Obama’s mandate to incorporate new technologies into the government’s operations, but noted that it faced challenges addressing the tangle of privacy concerns that come in tow.

“Social networking tools are an effective means by which the federal government can communicate with the public, but the government use of the tools may raise a myriad of complex legal, security and privacy issues,” the report said.

To get the ball rolling, DHS held a public workshop in June to serve as a forum for addressing the privacy concerns regarding social media in government.

DHS representatives also participated in a Web 2.0 subcommittee dispatched by the Federal CIO Council and convened several internal workshops to sort through the privacy issues associated with new media tools.

The department has posted a site documented its forays into the Web 2.0 world here.

Additionally, the report talked up DHS’ role in working with the administration’s team commissioned to review the federal government’s cybersecurity apparatus and establish recommendations to balance the security of U.S. digital infrastructure with privacy protections.